Posted on 01 June 2009 by Barone
In Submerge #34, we got to speak to Les Claypool, one of the most difficult to define artists in rock music. Fittingly, our interview ran a gamut of topics, and unfortunately, not all of it could make it to print. Luckily for all of us, there’s an Internet, of which, if you’re reading this post, you’re probably somewhat aware. Here’s a few odds and ends from our chat with Les.
Submerge: Before you mentioned musicals. You’ve done a lot of different things with your music, has writing a musical something you’ve considered?
Les Claypool: I’ve thought about it. There are different albums I’ve done in the past that have had themes. Pork Soda had sort of a storyline, but I haven’t thought of doing the rock opera or a musical or anything like that. It’s not something I’ve gotten around to. If it was posed to me—I’ve talked to some writer friends about maybe doing a musical version of this or that—but it just hasn’t come about.
Would Pork Soda be the first album you’d think to make a musical out of?
At the time, it would have been. I actually had a whole treatment written for a Pork Soda animated film, and at the time, this was back when people had to draw, and it wasn’t very cost effective to do animation as it is now. I do remember actually approaching the owner of Interscope Records about doing this, and he kind of hung up the phone and was like, “What the hell is that guy talking about?” [Laughs] You know? I think it was a little too adventurous.
You’re an independent artist now, but in the ’90s, Primus was on Interscope, which is now a part of the biggest record label in the world. What was your experience like at a major label?
We were one of the first acts signed to the Interscope label, the other being Gerardo with “Rico Suave.” And thank God for “Rico Suave,” because he sold a lot of records and paved the way, so they could put out our record and not sweat it so much. I think we were the yin to that yang, or vice versa. Interscope was just an independent label with a lot of financial backing. It was a perfect place for us. I think that’s how it is with most entities. Most record companies start out as small entities, shoe companies, coffee companies—Starbucks used to be a small little entity. We just happened to get in there when they were small, and it worked out very, very well for us. I have nothing but fond memories of being on Interscope, but I just don’t think it would work for us now, because they’re a different entity, and we’re just not the kind of band that would work in that environment.
You started your Prawn Song label as an imprint on Interscope. When you did, was the plan to strike out on your own with your own label?
I started Prawn Song mainly to put out my friends’ records—guys who were spending money on demo tapes, I thought, well, shit, why don’t we just make CDs. I can get them into record stores. I don’t know if they’ll sell, but I can get that into record stores. So we did that with Charlie Hunter and Mirv. Charlie sold OK—it actually did really well for a jazz record—but the other records didn’t do so well and it just turned into a big money pit, so I just started releasing my own stuff through it. Eventually, when Primus dissolved, that was my main avenue for releasing my stuff. In this age of Internet distribution and whatnot, it’s proved to work to my advantage not to be strapped to a label. I can do what I want, whenever I want, and it works out pretty damn good.
|Categories Blogs, The Shallow End||Tags Interscope Records,Les Claypool,Pork Soda,Prawn Song,Primus|